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Permalink Posted by n00b100 on , attached to 1997-12-06
n00b100In a way, it's kind of a shame that the first set is not a classic one (which is not to say it's bad by any means - the lovely and intense Antelope is worth hearing, as is Gin -> Foam), because if it were anywhere near as good as, say, 12/7/97 I, the debate on "best Phish show ever" would be closed, if not at least severely curtailed. At time a new thread would start up on the forum, everyone would just go "c'mon, Auburn Hills '97" and we could move on with our lives. Sadly, it isn't, and thus we must continue to talk up 11/22/97 and Big Cypress and NYE '95 and all the rest and hope that someday Phish plays a show that settles the argument once and for all, while lamenting how close they came 15 years ago.

Obviously you can see where I'm going with this - if Set II isn't the best set Phish ever played, then it is not only in the conversation, but speaking louder than damn near everybody else. Not only are we blessed with some of the craziest, most intense, roller coaster-ride jams of all time, with the gnarly and wicked Tweezer, the super tight Izabella jam that James Brown would surely have been proud to hear come from his band, and the jawdropping Piper that closes the meat of the set, but we also get two of the all time great segues, with Izabella appearing from the mists of the Tweezer jam like some kind of fever dream and Twist smoothly arriving from the Izabella jam with an acrobat's grace. This is one of those sets that almost make all other Phish sets redundant - want boisterous rocking, pinpoint funk, scary industrial noise, or the kind of groupthink creativity that only comes with the best of the best nights? Well, look no further, 12/6/97 has you covered.

This probably isn't the best show Phish ever played - both sets count, lest we forget - but the second set is damned near good enough to make that a technicality. And we have it in pristine sound, forever and ever, to listen to again and again. If this isn't the mountaintop, it doesn't matter, because you can still see the stars from here.
Score: 7

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